St. Louis, Mo., November 22, 2013 – The No. 11-ranked Washington University in St. Louis men's basketball team shot 64.5 percent in the second half and erased a four-point halftime deficit as the Bears defeated Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology 94-74 in the opening round of the 30th Annual Lopata Classic.
Senior forward Chris Klimek scored a season-high 26 points on 10-of-14 shooting, while senior guard Alan Aboona added 18 points and tied a tournament record with 12 assists. Junior forward Nick Burt (14 points), senior guard Tim Cooney (13 points, seven assists, six rebounds) and junior forward Matt Palucki (12 points, six rebounds) also notched double figures in scoring for Washington U. The Bears' five starters have scored in double figures in two-straight games.
Washington U. (3-0) hosts Whitman College Saturday at 8 p.m. in the final game of the Lopata Classic, while Rose-Hulman (0-1) takes on University of Chicago Saturday at 6 p.m.
In the opening game of the Lopata Classic, Chicago shot 70 percent in the second half as the Maroons rallied for an 81-79 win over Whitman. Royce Muskeyvalley had 18 points to lead all scorers, and nailed the game-winning jumper with six seconds remaining. Chicago shot 59.6 percent (28-47) in the win, but committed 28 turnovers.
It was a high-scoring first half where neither team led by more than six points. Cooney and Klimek combined to score the first 14 points of the game as Washington U. held onto a slight one-point lead at 14-13. A four-point play by Aboona highlighted a 10-2 run as the Bears built their largest lead of the first half at 24-19 with 9:38 to play.
Jordy Martin had the hot hand for Rose-Hulman in the first half, nailing 4-of-4 three-pointers and led all scorers with 14 points. Martin scored eight-straight points, including back-to-back three's, to give RHIT the 31-27 lead. The teams continued to trade baskets and a three-pointer by Michael Hallstein gave the Fightin' Engineers their largest lead of the half at 37-31 with 4:24 to play.
Rose-Hulman took a 50-46 lead to half after shooting 54.8 percent (17-31) from the field, including 9-of-15 three-pointers. Palucki had 10 points to lead the Bears, while Klimek and Burt added nine each. The Bears shot 55.6 percent (15-27) in the opening half and had 15 assists on 15 baskets.
Washington U. broke open a one-point game midway through the second half with a 22-2 run. Klimek had 10 of the Bears' 22 points during the decisive run, and a bucket by Palucki made it 84-65 with 4:27 to play. Rose-Hulman was limited to 11 points in the final 12 minutes of play and shot 30.4 percent (7-23) in the second half.
The Bears shot a season-high 60.3 percent (35-58) from the field and had 31 assists on 35 field goals. Washington U. also hit 21-of-27 (77.8 percent) from the foul line and committed a season-low nine turnovers.
Jake Dodd (15 points), Martin (14 points) and All-American Julian Strickland (14 points) all scored in double figures for Rose-Hulman in its season opener.
Bear Notebook: Rose-Hulman leads the all-time series, 11-10, against Washington U., and the teams met for the first time since 1997 … Washington U. has won 29-straight games in the Lopata Classic and has an all-time record of 53-6 (.898) … Aboona moved past Scott Fiedler (1987-91) into eighth on the all-time assist list with 303 ... The Bears have scored 90 points in three-straight games for the first time since 1996-97 season.